Thank You.

I started blogging weekly, more than five years ago. October 20, 2011– to be exact. I was just finishing up grad school and my first book, Neverending Beginnings, hadn’t even been published. I had a different non-writing job than I do now. I hadn’t met Julia Kelly & Alexis Anne and therefore, had no idea I’d co-host a monthly podcast. I’d never attended a huge national conference, much less presented at one. Five years ago I’d maybe run a couple of 10Ks, but if you’d told me I’d a half marathon once, let alone twice, I’d have swiftly dismissed that as crazy-talk. I had never been to Paris, or Belgium, or Portland, or Austin, and I’m sure there were countless beers I hadn’t tried, books I hadn’t read.

Five. Years.

The thing is though, when you do a thing for so long, it’s easy to just keep doing it because it’s that thing you do, right? You roast chicken every Monday, and make quinoa bowls every Wednesday. You go to happy hour at that one brewery every Thursday. You meticulously move things from this week’s to-do list to next’s every Sunday night. You always brush your teeth before you wash your face. And then maybe one day, you forget and wash your face before brushing your teeth, and you realize it’s no big deal. Or you can’t get to the chicken on Monday and realize it’s just as good cooked in the slow cooker on Saturday. And maybe you break your brewery routine to join a friend for jazz at the cafe around the corner and realize there’s this whole other world of things to do on Thursday nights. And that to-do list? Well, perhaps if it’s not getting done there’s no sense in re-writing it.

Five years. Thirteen weeks. But today, I break my routine.

I don’t know what it will feel like not to publish a blog next week. I haven’t not spent some of the hours leading up to Thursday preparing a blog post for the last 273 weeks of my life, so I imagine I’ll feel like something is a bit out-of-order. However, for some time, I’ve been feeling like this whole thing has just become a little too habitual for me, just one more thing to check off the list and write down again on the next week. Like it’s missing a bit of soul. I’m quite certain there is a whole other world of writing to do out there just waiting for me to breathe some life into it and better serve readers.

So that’s my plan. I’m going to take some space and explore some other venues and new projects. But I can’t step away without saying thank you for spending a few precious moments of your day with my words. Whether you’ve been here for all 273 weeks, or are finding yourself here for the first time, I am so very grateful.

Five years. Grateful.

 

Since I won’t be blogging every week, I will no longer send a weekly e-mail. However, I’ll still be sending a message on at least a quarterly basis with an update on the progress of my latest novel, including excerpts,  release dates and pre-orders, so I do hope you’ll stay on my mailing list (or sign-up for the first time, below). And again, thank you.

 

A Thousand Words

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I don’t always participate in those Facebook challenges that get passed around. You know the ones: answer a bunch of random questions about your favorite things, post a happy picture for 100 days, dump a bucket of ice water over your head. But sometimes I decide to play along (I’m a sucker for the writing ones, 7 Lines from Page 7 of Your Work in Progress, anyone?) Yesterday, the awesome Alexis Anne, tagged me in the I’m Beautiful Just the Way I Am Challenge in which you are tasked with choosing five photographs you feel beautiful in and posting them. I’m sure I’ve been tagged in this in the past, and just scrolled right on by, but this time I decided to pause and take the challenge. Continue reading

The Unintended Consequence of All My Beer Talk

I write about beer a lot. It’s become this thing that people sort of know about me, which is great. I love that folks are reading my Books & Brews posts or articles/interviews in which I’ve mentioned my love of craft beer. But there’s this one little unintended consequence of my very open, very frequent, and very public profession of beer-love that’s been nagging at me lately.

Here are two scenarios that occur with surprising regularity: 1) someone says “I was going to bring beer, but I would have NO idea what to bring you,” when arriving at my house for  dinner/a party/hamburgers on the patio; 2) I’m told “Sorry, we only have *insert non-craft beer brand*,” when I’ve been invited to someone else’s home for dinner/a party/hamburgers on the patio. I’d like to take a moment today to assuage all these fears people have about serving me beer: Continue reading

I Still Believe in Tuesday Night Rock Shows

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This week I went to two concerts; one on Monday and one on Tuesday. My life isn’t always like this– there are plenty of weeks in which I attend zero concerts. However, many years ago, I promised myself that would never let the fact that I had to work the next day cause me to miss out on a show I really wanted to see (i.e., I’d go out on a school night). This week, there happened to be two such shows.

It’s a commitment I’m so grateful to have been able to keep, though I’ll admit it looks a little different from the vantage point of the later end of my 30s than it did in the early part of my 20s. Here are just a few of the those differences: Continue reading

Wonder

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This past weekend my husband and I took a little road trip to Washington DC. For several years of my life I lived just a short train ride outside of the city, and for the rest of it I’ve lived within a several hours drive. As a result it’s easy to forget what a destination the nation’s capitol is for so many people

I thought about this a lot as we circled the National Mall twice on our Saturday morning run. Passing the Capital Building, the Washington Monument, many of the Smithsonian museums. Catching glimpses of the White House and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. You know, just out for a little run, past things that some people may only ever see in books. My cousins who live in the city and run on the mall all the time, say it never gets old. They’re always aware of the magnitude of what they see in those few miles.

But is that true for everyone? Or does this sense of gratitude and amazement require some cultivation. Continue reading

Let Your Heart Be Light …

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My wish for all of you on this December 24 is a peaceful day filled with whatever it is that makes your heart happiest. (If you happen to be celebrating Christmas Eve, like me,  happy that, too!)

Also, if your heart is not so light and you feel more like you’re muddling through– be kind to yourself this season. The holiday blues are real and if you’re not feeling ultra full of elfin good cheer, it really is okay. Take care of you and know that I’m sending extra helpings of those wishes for peace your way.

On Cozy Coffeeshops & Other People’s Love Stories …

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Last Saturday I had a book signing about forty-five minutes away in Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the coziest little coffee shop ever, Agora Downtown Coffee. The shop is co-owned by sisters, one of whom bakes amazing things and the other who is the biggest champion for local artists ever (as well as a talented artist and craftsperson, herself). In the short time I was there, the sisters’ father and brother stopped by and introduced themselves, a local business owner bought me a cup of coffee because he “knew how hard I worked”, a designer complemented my book covers, and countless folks smiled and wished me well. Continue reading

I Guess the Winter Makes You Laugh a Little Slower …

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It’s been a little gloomy here in Richmond, Virginia this winter and I’m not going to lie– I’m tired of it. It has snowed twice in two weeks and it seems like sunny days have been nearly non-existent. Earlier this week, walking home from work I was standing on a pile of dirty snow, waiting to cross a major intersection, staring across the street at more grey piles watching mud streaked cars pass and felt myself sigh. It wasn’t even intentional, more like an automatic response. Continue reading

2014: My Not So Terrible Twos

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When you’re working on something really huge, you know, something like getting a degree, starting a business, becoming healthier or building a house– you do these little incremental things everyday that support that goal. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like much, right? We say things like I only wrote one page of my dissertation or got that one little corner of my website done. Or maybe, I didn’t eat that WHOLE cookie the size of my head, just half or I painted that one wall in the bathroom. It’s easy to minimize these daily successes, but the thing is– Continue reading

Cauliflower, Broccoli & First Dates

heartwoodThirteen years ago I went on a first date. He invited me to a winery. I had never done a wine tasting. I had no idea what to wear to winery. I went out and bought a new skirt that I felt was appropriately casual and sophisticated that morning. He doesn’t remember my skirt– just the giant oversized sunglasses I was wearing. I remember I drank the samples way too fast and had no idea what to say about them. Continue reading